Last month our Development Director Joanna Axon took Jon Massey, Associate Editor of East London newspaper, The Wharf, on a tour of U+I’s impressive waterfront site in Greenwich, Morden Wharf.
On a windy Friday in October, Jon managed to battle through the gale force winds of storm Callum to get a true picture of the transformative work we are doing to preserve and pay homage to this former sweetener refinery, whilst ushering in a fresh generation of residents, makers and entrepreneurs.
Morden Wharf has been owned by U+I since 2012 and it is a great example of our commitment to worthwhile use.
It’s become a hive of activity for the makers to whom we’ve opened-up the old refinery while we go into consultation with the local community and authority over the final plans for the site. It’s where giant sculpture creator MDM Props – the team behind the Warhorse horse, and the famous Suffragette statue on Parliament Square – let their creativity flourish. Rather amusingly, it’s also become a home for the cast of Poldark whilst they film scenes at the Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
We’ve opened the site to this busy, maker ecosystem in homage to the site’s rich industrial heritage, as the former site of the Thames soap works.
And we’ll be doing the same with the final development, by keeping the red-brick warehouse building that dates back to the 1950s – in part because it’s a bit of a buffer zone between the industrial part of the site and the residential we’re planning. Our ambition is that the warehouse will continue to provide a space for local businesses and makers to express their creativity, build new ideas and make Morden Wharf a real destination.
Part of our effort is also to bring a sense of community back to Greenwich, after decades of erosion. Indeed, before the war, the site was also home to a close-knit community – centred around The Sea Witch Pub. Part of the reason for which our plans for the site include a new pub on the beach-front, an echo of the former hostelry that looked out over the Thames.
Ultimately, Morden Wharf will create 1500 new homes for the area. But we’re working hard to make it more than that. To create a place that’s buzzing day and night and harks back to village life in Greenwich in the industrial age.
The good news is, we are already keen to hear from businesses and makers who might want to make this historical site their home.
A place where giant props are fabricated and London buses are fettled, and if you’re really lucky, you might even bump into some costumed characters from the BBC drama Poldark…
U+I is working with world class architects OMA on the proposed masterplan for homes, new workspace and improvements to the Thames Path.
In November we are hosting a public exhibition of the plans, where local people and interested parties can meet the project team and give their views views:
- Wednesday 21 November -between 4pm and 8pm at Rothbury Hall, Mauritius Road, SE10 0EF
- Saturday 24 November -between 12pm and 5pm at Sherard Hall, Forum at Greenwich, Trafalgar Road, SE10 9EQ
Further information on our proposals and opportunities to feedback will be on the project website: www.mordenwharf.co.uk